Hugh Masekela

Born in 1939, South African trumpeter, bandleader, composer and lyricist, Hugh Masekela, is loved by jazz, bebop, funk and Afrobeat fans the world over.

Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, singer and defiant political voice who remains deeply connected to South Africa while he continues a lively international tour schedule. He first picked up a horn at age 14 and was still blowing strong when he met his untimely death at age 78.

His eclectic musical style is pervaded by jazz and mbaqanga. Masekela has worked with many legends including Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Miles Davis, Paul Simon and Miriam Makeba.

He has been honoured in numerous ways such as receiving the Order Of Ikhamanga from former President Jacob Zuma in 2010, the highest South African honour awarded to individuals who have excelled in shaping the future of the country in various respects; he has received a Lifetime Achievement Award at WOMEX in 2011 and been nominated for two Grammy awards.

With more than 40 solo albums to his name, he also started his own label: House of Masekela, under which he released the album, Playing at Work.

Of all musicians exiled by apartheid, Masekela was probably South Africa’s most noted cultural ambassador-at-large. His single "Grazing in the Grass" won him a Grammy in 1968. In the 1980s Masekela set up a mobile studio in Botswana and performed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour. His 1987 hit, "Bring Him Back Home", became the anthem for Nelson Mandela's world tour following his 1992 prison release.